Review by Exodist
"A decent shooter, although the narrative is what makes BioShock shine."
BioShock is the spiritual successor to System Shock, a fairly old FPS. System Shock however was fairly different, concentrating on RPG elements, story and atmosphere. BioShock, made by Irrational Games (now 2K Boston apparently), takes most elements of System Shock into a more modern shooter, with a different setting.
The story of BioShock is quite simply, amazing. You play as a mysterious and silent man (I think his name is Jack but I honestly can't remember) who is flying on a plane. Suddenly however, the plane sets on fire and crashes into the sea. Our hero is forced to take refuge at a nearby lighthouse. Inside is a Bathysphere, which takes him into the underwater city, Rapture. I could explain more but that would ruin it, you have to play through BioShock with no knowledge of the plot to fully enjoy it (well, apart from the start). What makes the story so special is the narrative though. You will meet a variety of interesting and truley insane characters, physically and through audio diary's. Taken from System Shock, they're essentially recordings of peoples thoughts, giving you back story into the story, and why exactly Rapture has gone to ruin. Whilst you won't necessarily find all the diary's, you will find enough to learn a lot about the story. Every thing is played out in such a way, its one of those play to believe things. I admit the ending was pretty crap, but thats one minor downside to the story. The story and narrative are definitely the best aspects of BioShock.
I admit the gameplay isn't up to much, despite previously mentioning RPG elements, they're not really present in BioShock (instead, plasmids are the closest thing to RPG elements). BioShock doesn't exactly play out like a classic shooter, although the shooter elements of the game are rather generic I guess. You get a few different weapons, a wrench, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher etc (nothing particularly interesting, although the Grenade Launcher is a life saver, especially against Big Daddies on hard difficulty). You can obtain three different ammo types for all of your guns, however I never used different types much, I only really used them when low on normal ammo. You can also attach upgrades to your weapons, obtained through "Power to the People" stations, which are dotted all around Rapture. Once used you can't use them again though, so you can't overpower your weapons (you can upgrade each weapon twice). Concerning the actual gun play though, weapons lack punch, shooting an enemy at close range with a shotgun doesn't seem to do much, nor do any other weapons. The gun play is OK, although there are better games out there.
As mentioned before, you can obtain plasmids. You can find many different plasmids all over Rapture, some give you actual powers, but some give you different skills (stronger wrench attack (very useful), turn invisible, better hacking etc) which are assigned to different "tracks", which differ depending on what the plasmid type is. You must pay ADAM (obtained from Little Sisters, im sure you know all about the Big Daddies) to obtain more track slots, along with other plasmids, health and EVE upgrades (essentially your MP) and so on. Plasmids are a pretty good feature, you will spend most of your time using them rather than guns. Plasmids can let you shock enemies, allowing a swift blow to the head from your wrench, you can freeze enemies and shatter them, fire bees at fire, set people on fire... There are so many plasmids, im sure people have their own favourites. The plasmids are well done, although I admit I only really played with a few different plasmids, resulting in me missing out with most of them.
The graphics are truley something to look at. BioShock boasts some of the best graphics on 360. All the environments are stunning, each level has so much detail and attention, and most areas all look unique. You may be stuck in an under water city, but the levels are varied enough to stop the levels from being dull and boring. The character models all look great, however the splicers are rather repetitive. The music is pretty good for BioShock, although I personally didn't hear much. The Voice Acting was decent enough for BioShock, although im not really an expert on that kinda thing, I just know when the VA is bad or good.
Overall, BioShock is a great game. The game play isn't necessarily the best, but the plasmids are pretty cool, along with the graphics, story and narrative. If you're looking for something a little different to the many generic shooters that come out now, BioShock may be for you.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/16/08
Game Release: BioShock (EU, 08/24/07)
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